E-commerce can spur intra-South Asia trade: World Bank

News:The World Bank has released a report titled “Unleashing E-Commerce for South Asian Integration”.


Key takeaways from the report:

  • The report has said that e-commerce can become a driver of growth across South Asia and boost trade among the region’s countries but its potential remains largely untapped.
  • The online sales in India as a percentage of total retail sales were only 1.6% when compared to 15% in China and around 14% globally.
  • Hence,increasing the use of e-commerce by consumers and firms in South Asia could potentially help boost competition and firm productivity, and encourage diversification of production and exports.

Challenges in E-commerce trade:

  • Taxes, trade and barriers in export markets
  • Lack of mutual trust in intra-regional trade
  • Complicated non-transparent non tariff measures
  • Constraints over Services trade 
  • Below potential FDI
  • Lack of regional value chains.


  • The report has proposed reforms in areas such as payments, delivery, market access regulations, consumer protection and data privacy at the national, regional, and global levels.
  • The small and medium enterprises in the region could increase their exports, employment by as much as 30% if the countries removes regulatory and logistical challenges to e-commerce.